Masan Group Singapore Office by M Moser Associates
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Designed by a collaborative M Moser team effort in Singapore and Hong Kong, the office was Masan’s first outside its native Vietnam and makes a bold statement of the Group’s heritage and ambitions. A particular highlight of the design is an expansive water feature and ‘floating’ glass-encased conference room. Team members working on the project from M Moser in Singapore included Nirmala Srinivasa, Eliza Reyes, Adam Bentley, Chris Yeo, Kim Horng Teng, Jet Brillantes, Kenneth Chiam, and Christine Ho. Ziggy Bautista collaborated on the design from M Moser Hong Kong. The Masan project won a ‘Merit’ award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in Hong Kong; and an ‘Excellence’ award from the Asia Pacific Interior Design Association (APIDA) in 2013.
Transcript of Masan Group Singapore Office by M Moser Associates
- 1. Design plays a hefty role in the positioning of Masan Group with its new Singapore office. Over the past three years, the Masan Group has undergone a drastic metamorphosis. Originally a Vietnamese family-run food company, it became an overnight business sensation with a firm hold in Vietnams banking, resources and fast moving consumer goods sectors when it brought its new CEO Madhur Maini on board. Continuing on their mission to grow as a business, the company wanted to set up an office in Singapore and sought the help of design firm M Moser Associates to create a space that accurately portrays what the company is about. Madhur wanted the space to represent what Vietnam and more specifically, Masan as a business would be in the future, says Nirmala Srinivasa, Design Senior Associate at M Moser. Considering that it was not too long ago that it was still a traditional Vietnamese business, it was also important that the space maintain some relations to its roots.
- 2. The entry into the space was one of the first issues the design team tackled as they focused on what visitors would see when they step into the office from the lift lobby. With minimal staff to accommodate in the Singapore office, most of the 4,000sqft space could be used quite freely. The office spreads out in an expansive sweep, back dropped by the sumptuous view of the Marina Bay. Underlining everything is a quiet, if considerable, body of water that extends as a moat around the main conference room. Madhurs question to us was, What would make the space iconic? something that would link both Singapore and Vietnam, recalls Srinivasa. The idea of the river became a strong conceptual thread that bound both countries, with Singapore having been a trading port which saw the Singapore River playing a leading role, and the Mekong River in Vietnam still being a source of livelihood for its people. The connotations that came with this concept could not be more apt for the project the river as a source of life and renewal; the river as a fluid, dynamic element. Understandably, there were technical issues to be considered. For one, office building floor slabs are rarely designed to take the weight of a large volume of water. As such, what was originally meant to be a 150mm-deep water body was reduced to a shallow 30mm-deep pool.
- 3. If this thing leaked, it would not just flood this space, but the way buildings are constructed with a pocket at the edge, it would flood the space below as well, Srinivasa explains. Needless to say, phenomenal effort went into making sure that never happens. In designing the office, M. Moser Associates with Ziggy Bautista as lead conceptual designer, was always aware that an Asian identity had to be incorporated into the design. What is laudable about its endeavour, however, is that it deliberately avoids too literal a translation, choosing instead to capture the spirit of what it means to be Asian. The symbolic and wholly poetic body of water is but one example. Also taking the idea of Asian subtlety on board, the design team incorporated Masan Groups logo as a series of stepping stones on the water as opposed to blatant logo placement. The ideas of transparency and privacy also came into consideration. The design team proposed glass partitions throughout the office to emphasise the generous amount of space available. At the same time, there were other factors to consider. The Vietnamese culture, being more conservative, pointed to a need for some privacy within the office. This resulted in leather privacy panels on glass partitions, each one a deconstructed Masan logo that was stitched together. This effectively provided privacy but also retained a sense of transparency throughout the office. residential, a little more hospitality. The furniture we selected was very iconic something you can imagine putting in your study, says Bautista, referring to the sense of familiarity and comfort the design team was also trying to create.